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former rnc chair, michael steele. the host of msnbc's "way too early," sir william geist of vanderbilt, the indubitable patricia murphy of the daily beast and citizen jane politics, and the lovely "new york daily news" very own columnist, s.e. cupp. the senate voted 51 to 48 against a measure that would have repealed president obama's contraception mandate, a closer vote than i thought it would be, actually. unsurprisingly, those running for president and specifically we'll talk about mitt romney, have had a tricky time with this. mitt romney yesterday saying for about an hour that he did not support the blunt amendment, and then reversing course abruptly, an hour or so later, saying he would. it is a classic mitt romney move, is it not, michael steele? >> why me? >> we give you the softballs. >> i prefer notorious, probably will be after this answer. but, no, i think, yeah, for me,
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i think it was an honest moment, to be quite frank about it. and you know, that's what happens in politics. i've been there! you know, when you say that you speak truth -- or at least how you feel, feel about it, and i can't, you know, figure out what's in his head at the moment, but then the backtrack from it. my thinking is, look, what's the downside? you know, if you're the presumed nominee, this is going to only serve to your benefit in november, going into the fall. but, that's, of course -- >> i'm sorry, what is the benefit of going back and forth? >> not going back and forth, but i'm saying if he would have stuck with his original answer, what's the downside? maybe the primary, but -- >> and the fact that blunt -- >> and that blunt is one of his -- >> congressional representatives. >> not -- like his guy. >> his dude. >> his liaison. so, look, i get back to this point, why is the nation that's healing itself economically are we having this discussion? why are we not taking the paul ryan plans for our budget and our economy and talking about
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those things? if you want to have a fight, let's have a fight about that. we're not going to go back in time on women's health issues. we're not going to step away from the course that we as a country have decided is going to benefit every citizen, to have healthy women. so i just don't think that that's something, and we can have the discussion about freedom of speech and church and that's a fair discussion to have. but on the slippery slope that we've now found ourselves, i don't think that the republican party and certainly our candidates benefit. >> for a minute there, a couple of weeks ago, republicans had this issue when it was a question of religious free. and when it drifted to women's health, as it has now, it catches up to them in the way it caught up to rick santorum in the state of michigan. americans aren't focused on this. and when you go over to women's health, you cover a whole new territory that wasn't cover when you talk about religious freedom. >> and mitt romney has had a fairly progressive record on this will sort of stuff. he reached out to pro-choice groups when he was governor of
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massachusetts. that has not won him any favors in a very partisan and fired up conservative 2012 race. in fairness, let's listen to the back and forth that we're talking about yesterday, with onn, which is an ohio television station, and mitt romney. >> he's brought contraception into this campaign. the issue of birth control, contraception. it's being debated later this week, i believe, that deals with banning or allowing employers to ban providing female contraception -- have you taken a position on that? he's said that he was for that and we'll talk about personhood in a second, but he's for that. have you taken a position? >> i'm not for the bill. but, look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, i'm not going there. >> now, the romney camp, after the pivot said, you know, the way the question was asked was confusing. govern romney supports the blunt bill. not one to miss any sort of opportunity to take a dig at mitt romney, rick santorum just
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minutes ago said this about the blunt amendment statement. >> his knee-jerk reaction was, no, i can't be for that. well, then after his consultants talked to him and, then he came back, oh, i said i didn't understand the question. well, maybe he did, maybe he didn't. but i'll tell you, if i was asked a question like that, my gut reaction would be, always, my gut reaction would be, you stand for the first amendment, you stand for freedom of religion. >> just in case you were wondering where rick santorum stands on this, s.e.? >> well, i think, i mean, i think to your point, chairman steele, mitt romney is also probably wondering why we're having these conversations. i think two years ago, he thought, this is going to be a race completely run in my wheelhouse. the economy, mys by a business is going to get me through this and i'm not going to have to navigate social issues. so now that social issues have come up, and he, i don't think has in his fiber, in his fabric,
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a gut feeling to fall back on, he's got to sort of, you know, hurry to form one on the spot. and so, i think it's safe to say that he's had mixed feelings on a lot of social issues, which is okay. he's allowed to. but the fact that rick santorum can now, effectively, call him mixed feeling mitt, i don't think -- yes, i just made that up -- i don't think bodes well for him going forward. >> but i do think he has a core sense of this. and i think it's what he said in the first place, he's relatively moderate on this issue when he said, i don't want to get into whether or not a married couple, man and woman should have access to contraception. that is not a radical concept. >> it's not! >> that is not a far left point of view. that is just a common sense, i woke up today and i didn't go crazy point of view. however, once the conservatives got to him, yes, he did backtrack, and yes, he did go crazy. that's why conservatives don't like him. >> in this race, if you are not waking up and going crazy every morning, you shouldn't be running for president. >> well, you have to be in the first, right?
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>> but it's the back half of that statement. it's the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions with about contraception within a relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, i'm not going there. right? that's it. >> but at least rick santorum will stick to what he says. rick santorum has all sorts of statements he's made in the last 30, 20 years in his time in public life. he sticks to them because he believes them. and that's why people are attracted to him. and for mitt romney, i would have so much respect for him if he said, yes, this is how i feel. you can vote on me for this issue or not. i want to talk about the economy. i don't know why he isn't saying that. >> that would be the perfect answer, because it would have been honest, it would have pushed back on a lot of the noise that is bubbling up around him, on the very issues that he doesn't want to talk about. and he would have pivoted very nicely to a conversation that, as you noted, is in his wheelhouse, about our economy. because that's what that married couple at the end of the day is most concerned about right now, particularly if one of them has been unemployed for 6, 7, 18 months. >> rick santorum is fluent in the language of social
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conservatism, and you get the sense every time we hear mitt romney speak this way that he's learning the language on the job. he says one things and he's attacked in some quarters for what he said, and he quickly backtracks and tries to get the right answer out there. it's not instinctive to him. >> he needs to take the rosetta stone class in authenticity. >> yes. >> because, look, no one thinks mitt romney will be the furthest right on this stuff. no one thinks mitt romney should have to apologize for his wealth. he needs to figure out the language of talking about these sensitive issues in way that is real, that is authentic, that is true to him as a candidate. and i think he'll have support for that. it's just, i guess the rosetta stone tapes are not yet on sale or the romney camp doesn't want to buy them. >> i would like him to be kidnapped by a team of navy s.e.a.l.s, dropped into a target in ohio, and live off the land. talk to people, see what it's like, just be normal. and he would be so much better. >> oh, living off the land, there's one guy who is doing that in georgia, and his name is newt gingrich. we'll talk all about that next.
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up next, the road map to super tuesday. we'll take you on a whirlwind tour of the states that will make a big impact in the next days. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ deep breath ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth! no, i wouldn't use that single miles credit card. nice ring. knock it off. ignore him. with the capital one venture card you earn... double miles on every purchase. [ sharon ] 3d is so real larry. i'm right here larry. if you're not earning double miles... you're settling for half. really? a plaid tie? what, are we in prep school? [ male announcer ] get the venture card at and earn double miles on every purchase every day.
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the sprint to super tuesday is underway. rick santorum campaigns in georgia and washington and blanketed ohio talk radio this morning. mitt romney hits north dakota, idaho, and washington while his wife stumps for him in georgia. ron paul posts up in washington before heading to alaska this weekend. newt gingrich, meanwhile, has his eggs in one basket on a
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four-day swing through georgia. joining the panel now is one of the best in the business, "the new yorker's" ryan lizza, looking around. who could we be talking about? let's talk about this super tuesday, this march towards super tuesday. which i've sort of started calling stupid tuesday. rick santorum is making the case that he actually won michigan in terms of delegates, because he and mitt romney are tied. but is this not just sort of a long, painful exercise to watch mitt romney become the nominee, ryan? >> wait, before i answer that, i have to thank michael steele on behalf of journalists everywhere for giving us the gift of the long republican primary season. if you haven't been thanked already -- >> you had it with clinton/obama, we figured -- >> we thought that was once in a lifetime. we were ready to give up the business. >> we never thought people would make the same mistake twice, but they did. >> the santorum campaign has a
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case here. they haven't been as good -- i remember the obama people in 2008 were so good at getting it driven into the press' head in 2008 that this is about delegates, it's about delegates, it's not about votes. people forget, barack obama didn't win the most votes in 2008. hillary clinton won more. and right now romney has won 41% of the votes cast in this primary. not exactly stellar. and we're on our way to the second republican primary in a row where the actual nominee does note win the most votes. the first time among republicans, this happened in 2008. 53% of the voters voted against john mccain. >> yep. >> and so something -- i think there may be a shift, something may have changed with the system in the last few years. we had a really, really stable nominating system from 1980 to 2000. the establishment candidate on both sides won every time. and for a lot of reasons, it started to break down in 2008, partly because of this great calendar you've given us. >> thank you. >> michael steele! >> i can tell you, after traveling the country for two years and listening to the base
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of the gop, the activists, the guys and gals who actually get up and knock on doors and deliver your votes, they felt locked out of this system, they got tired of washington dictating the terms of who would be the nominee, and that they were basically told to be sheep lined up and go into the voting booth and pull the lever for whomever we tell you is the choice. this time around, guess what? they have their say. we may not like it, we may not like the way it looks, feels or sounds, but they're comfortable with this the process up to now and their going to ride it out. >> but, michael steele -- >> yes? you say that like a judge. >> well, you're notorious in this court, sir. >> mr. steele? >> the difference i think a lot of people would say between 2008 and this race is there was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about both barack obama and hillary inton. here, from the outside it looks like -- >> you can't blame me for who signs up to play. >> i'm not. >> normally, they say, don't hate the the player, hate the game. in this case, you may want to hate the player and love the
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game. i don't know. >> i think with this contest in particular, you look at the favorables, mitt romney's favorables are going down the longer this goes on. money wise, he has a formidable war chest, but after michigan, we're seeing romney making a plea at the podium, go to mitt and donate. there's this new ad out. let's play it, from the romney campaign, encouraging folks to make donations online. >> like "the artist." >> yeah. it's also, apparently, everybody on the obama campaign communicates extensively by instant messenger and e-mail, they don't pick up phones. but that notwithstanding, it would seem to apply that they are a little bit worried about the resources they're going to have to get through the next couple of months on this. >> okay. fair point. so what's the point? look, every candidate -- i ran
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into this brick wall at the rnc where, you know, yeah, we had some of the establishment types that didn't want me to play with their major donors so they diverted their attention and took them away. so i went and found a million new donors over two years. the bottom line is campaigns are no longer about the big dollars. despite what citizens united may say, at the end of the day, you have to translate -- >> you need to have both. >> you need to have both. you have to translate those dollars into people who actually go out and work with you and for you. and that's what you're seeing right now with the romney people. is that small dollar donor is a constant giver. obama figured that out. he could have a million people giving him a check anytime he asked for it versus a thousand people who write one check for $38,000. >> and mitt romney has had the bulk of his support, by and large, overwhelmingly -- >> right. so now it's time to shift -- >> i don't know why everybody's such a rush, maybe it's just the press, to get santorum out of
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the race. he's got a right to be on the stage and express his positions. >> and that was the design of the system. >> in ohio, let's talk about santorum a little bit. because in ohio, santorum is at 37%. this is a poll that was from the 16th to the 26th of february. but santorum was up at 37%. romney at 26%. gingrich at 16. paul at 11. in all fairness, we're not writing rick santorum off yet, right? >> no. i think his numbers are going to go down, because mitt romney will dump millions of dollars against him in ohio and we'll start to see his numbers slip. but i think the silver lining for republicans here, and chairman steele, had a really difficult situation happening and it is still happening. there are at least two parties within the republican party. had the tea party people not been included in this process, had the right wing not been included in this process, there could easily be a third party, already a third party run against mitt romney. he would not satisfy the conservatives, unless there was a healthy, real debate that was not all about money, and that if he wasn't allowed to win the first two states and call it a
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day, i don't think conservatives would have stayed in the party. >> you are absolutely right. and you have to understand, you know, as i'm sitting there in february of 2009, and i'm hearing these voices come from the wilderness saying, you know what, i've got my pitchfork, i've got my torch, and i'm coming to the hill. >> wow! >> you said, come on in. >> come on up. i absolutely did. and we sat and we met and we began the relationship, which i think has helped the party. now, some may want to disparage it or whatever, but you're absolutely right. if we had not recognized the changes that were happening on the ground around this country, right now, we would have a much bigger party -- problem as a gop, than whether or not mitt romney and rick santorum and newt gingrich are having a squabble over something. >> i agree with you, chairman steele, in one sense, is that it's not the rules that define everything. it is the choices that the voters have, right? and they don't have great choices. let's be honest. most of the -- there weren't that many republicans ready to run this time around.
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the republican establishment was destroyed by the implosion of the bush presidency. you didn't have a sitting vice president who could run. cheney wasn't going to do it. you didn't have anyone coming out of the bush years that could do it. 2006, 2008 were terrible years for republicans. so they didn't have any leaders that came out of the pre-election years that could sort of step up to the plate. the few that were there decided not to do it. so you're left with romney, who comes from the moderate wing of the party, which is now defunct, and a series of right-wing candidate who is don't seem electable. and it seems like the republican electorate is having a tough time sorting between those two choices. >> so hard of a tough time, that they're really going to have to pay attention to stupid tuesday. and i have this -- >> you've got a whole segment. >> this is a tebow-ish, not a playbook, but really just a list of all of the caucuses and primaries, some of the debates -- >> i love that. >> some of the debates, when they're happening. it's very useful. but willie, we'll have to look at tennessee, oklahoma, georgia, not just for football, but what's going on there.
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>> and ohio for football. you mentioned ohio. when you look at the map, mitt romney has to win ohio. he's going to win massachusetts and vermont, that's his country, he's going to win virginia, because two guys aren't on the ballot. >> but we'll discount that, because it doesn't matter. >> right. but if he doesn't win any of the southern states that are evangelical, that sort of leaves ohio and north dakota, he's got to win ohio, doesn't he? >> translato >> he's got to win this, he's got to win this, he's got to win this. >> ohio's big because rick santorum has that connection to blue-collar voters that romney doesn't and it pulls away from romney and he's got to grab it back. >> he needs one of these. after the break, at least he's consistent. ron paul takes a break from the campaign trail to focus on his day job, being a congressman. we'll examine paul's stick it to itness, next.
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when you lay your head down on the pillow at night, do you see yourself in the oval office? >> not really. >> imagine you're in the oval office, you speak to raul castro, what would you say to him? >> well, i'd ask him what he called about, you know? >> you have a new television ad that labels him a fake. why? >> because he's a fake. >> what do you feel when you hear 4,000 people chanting your name, saying president paul, what does it feel like to you? >> i have real mixed feelings. i almost feel embarrassed. i wonder why they call. >> dr. paul? >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. bernanke, can you tell me whether you do your own shopping at the grocery store? >> ron paul, a true american original. he took some time to get back to
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his day job, scolding federal reserve chair ben bernanke at a hearing on capitol hill, wherein dr. paul pulled out a silver dollar, making the case for gold and precious metals and not paper currency. let's actually hear that, if we can play that for our panel and our audience. >> why can't -- couldn't people save -- put this in a mattress and get four or five times as much of the value in the same year, so the record of what you've done in the last six years is destroy the value of real money. >> now, the fiscal prudence of putting silver dollars in your mattress, notwithstanding, willie, the thing about ron paul is he's incredibly consistent. and we're talking about the future of the gop during the break. i think there is some part of ron paul's message that when it's all said and done and the gop is giving itself a long, hard look in the mirror after this 2012 race, will eventually come and adopt some of ron paul's rhetoric and some of his
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thinking, because it resonates not only with some part of the young people in this country, but it's a pure message. >> if you go to a ron paul rally, as i have many times,s to be them, there are a ton of young people there. a ton of young people. there are certainly fringe elements. there are pieces of his message that need to be rounded off. but when you're talking about small government, pull back the troops from afghanistan, these are things that young people listen to and authenticity. we talked about it with mitt romney. this guy is a true believer. he sticks to his message. even if it bores you, he's going to talk about the gold standard and austrian economics and he doesn't care if it puts you to sleep. >> for me, one of the most honest moments was the first clip he showed, when he's asked, do you see yourself in the oval office, and he's like, well, no, not really. how honest and authentic is that? in other words, i'm coming to do this not because of some predetermined desire that's part of my ego, zeitgeist, i always like that term, but the fact that i actually believe the country needs to change and move in a different direction and do
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certain things for its economic future. and that resonates with a lot of people. >> what i love about those clips is ron paul has a literal interpretation of the constitution. he has a literal interpretation of legislation. the words on the page are all you need to know about the meaning. so when he's asked a question, he thinks about it literally. he says, well, let's see, do i actually think about being in the oval office at night when i'm sleeping? no. >> and the reason he ran for congress in the first place was to protest the departure from the gold standard. so he was just born and bred on this. and i actually interviewed him one time, and i said, why are you doing this? and he said, you know, i don't want power, i want influence. and i think that he's had an enormous influence on the campaign already. >> absolutely. >> so i think he's already won, in his mind, he's already gotten what he wanted. >> and you see some of that rhetoric about the fed being adopted by a lot of the candidates in the race. mitt romney, who has a recurring nightmare, not about the oval
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office, but probably about it being locked when he gets to it. >> paul's a punchi ining back i '08. this time, everyone embraces him. >> thanks to willie geist for the comedy, the humor, the goodwill. >> wow. >> the smile. thank you for getting up so early to host "way too early." >> it's painful, it is. >> here on msnbc at 5:30 a.m.. >> that's when the show starts. you don't even know when i get up. >> 5:29. coming up, mitt romney is touting an ambitious economic plan featuring lower taxes, but do his numbers add up to a balanced budget? we'll take a look at the deficits in his proposal when "the washington post's" ezra klein joins the conversation next on "now." i just want to give her everything. [ whistles ] three words dad, e-trade financial consultants. they'll hook you up with a solid plan. wa-- wa-- wait a minute; bobby? bobby! what are you doing man? i'm speed dating! [ male announcer ] get investing advice for your family at e-trade.
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future. they're going to strengthen our entitlement programs for the next generation and they will not add to our deficit. we will finally balance america's budget. we encourage hard work, we encourage risk taking, we encourage productivity by allowing americans to keep more of what they earn. >> that's mitt romney promising to slash taxes, balance the budget, and cut the deficit. but are his plans based more on fiscal fantasy than reality? joining us now is msnbc policy analyst and columnist with "the washington post," the inimitable ezra klein. ezra, thanks for joining the program. >> good afternoon. >> so, ezra, mitt romney has an ambitious plan. it does not include extending recess by half an hour or putting soda in the water fountains, as far as i can tell, but it will cut income taxes across the board by 25%, increase defense spending. protect social security and medicare and reduce overall federal spending. how is it possible he can do this without raising taxes? >> it is not possible that he
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can do it without raising taxes, unless you're willing to do some very unpleasant things. so think about the federal budget like this. there are basically four big parts, right? there's taxes, which is how we get money into the government. there is spending on programs for old people. there's spending on programs for poor people, and there's spending on programs for defense. those four things you have taken up pretty much how we get the money in and how we get it out. what mitt romney's doing, he's saying spending on programs for old people won't change, nothing changes for the current generation of retirees. he's saying defense spending goes up. he's saying taxes go down. so now three of those four categories are neither of cutting the deficits or increasing it. what's left is cutting programs for poor people. the other is making frankly implausible assumptions about economic growth, that your taxes will, you know, bring economic growth, at 5% or 6%, and in doing, the new revenues and the new jobs will solve all of your problems. neither of those is really a plausible way forward.
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>> yeah, i think it was bill maher who made the illusion, you put a bunch of potatoes and meat loaf and turkey on a plate and that's the bulk of our spending, and a little tiny part, the cranberry sauce, is where republicans are attacking our profligate spending. e.j. dionne in "the washington post" put it, i think quite eloquently when he said yesterday, "romney's plan is simultaneously extreme and very, very boring. it draws on the one and only idea that today's conservatives offer for solving any and every problem that comes along. just throw yet more money at rich people." >> the only reason i disagree with e.j. dionne on that is that mitt romney's is the only plan of the four gopers that has any element of progressivity in it as all. he says he would close the loopholes for the top 1% so they
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don't pay -- >> for which rick santorum has said he has adopted the rhetoric of occupy wall street. >> right. and he also, there is -- everybody else would totally eliminate the estate tax, totally eliminate on taxes on capital gains and te ductideduc. so they are getting rid of almost all tax receipts in their plans. and mitt romney doesn't get any credit for being at least a little progressive. i would love to ask ezra, the conservative argument is that there would be so much growth in the economy when we jump-start the economy, rick santorum wants to zero out manufacturing taxes at all. but is that a good argument? i'm not an economist, so i don't know if it's true. >> these things aren't really plausible. romney has not said what he will take out of the tax code, right? what he said is, here are the tax cuts. everybody loves tax cuts, we've got in all the dessert here, and he's not said a word of specifics about what he would close out. do rich people no longer get a mortgage deduction, no longer
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get a charitable contribution? this is where the rubber meets the road, and until we get some specifics on it, there's nothing anybody can really say for it. as for this question, it's called in budget circles -- >> budget circles, ezra. budget circles. we are not part of the budget circles. >> can you feel your ratings going up, alex? can you feel the people tuning in? >> i can. >> the point i would make is republicans took a big run at this in 2005. they tried to get a guy who was the republican director of the congressional budget office to add this kind of growth expectations into the way the congressional budget office treats tax cuts. so he looked at it and he ran a big study, and he basically said, look, if you take this really seriously and use the best evidence we have, these tax cuts, the types of things we talk about either don't change economic growth much positively or negatively. and depending on your expectations, what the federal reserve will do, how it will be paid for, it can go either way. not only is it not plausible to say that it will make a big boost forward, even under really
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optimistic assumptions, it won't do that, it can take you backwards, which is what we think happened with the bush tax cuts, because we never actually paid for them. so there's an expectation of future taxes and future-type fed policy down the road. >> michael and s.e., i want to bring you guys in, though. because at the core of the, it's -- >> where the book ends here. >> no, in terms of conservative ideology, and we talk a lot that we're distracted by social issues, this is a bedrock principle in this race, is that we need to cut taxes on top earners, and that will be the engine of economic growth. we have had incredibly, historically low tax rates on top earners. >> but in setting up your question, you've already perpetuated the lie. and that is that we want -- sorry, i know you're the host, but the fact of the matter is there's not a republican out there who's saying that we only want tax breaks for the rich. we're looking across the board, that's what romney plan is talking about. we want everybody to benefit from the policies that he's putting in place, that
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everybody's rate goes down. that the effective rate that everyone has goes down. the bottom line is this, and the whole thing on taxes is a different conversation when you focus on spending. in the bush years, in the reagan years, that everyone likes to throw back in the faces about the debt and deficit, if i cut the tax rates and i can continue to spend, that gap, that's what we're living with right now. >> well -- >> but if you cut back the spending, if you bring the government in line with its purse, what's in its purse, guess what happens? all of a sudden, now, i've got more in my pocketbook, as an individual, that i can invest, i can save, i can spend. and when i spend that money into the economy, we all benefit from it. >> fair enough. >> so stop this we want to tax the rich. >> chairman, chairman, chairman. i am the host and i would like to make a point, which is, you're talking about cutting spending, and that's where you get no specifics. romney has said he's going to cut $500 billion in spending alone in 2016, but in terms of what those cuts are going to be, the elimination of obama care,
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the elimination of amtrak subsidies, which are going to save how much? $1.6 billion a year. and deep reductions at the national endownment for the arts and the elimination of title 10. >> this is where i think our whole conversation over taxes goes completely awry. when you don't define your spending cuts, it is impossible to say what you're doing is progressive or regressive, right? if you make a big tax cut and everybody's taxes go down, but the way you pay for it is eliminate medicaid, you have made a very regressive tax cut, because medicaid is where poor people get health care. and that's my complaint about romney's plan. you can do an across the board tax cut in a regressive way, but you can't do it if the only place you're willing to cut is programs like food stamps, medicaid, turn to the states, that and spending on the civil service are the only cuts he has seriously identified. and when you're doing that, that is not progressive. because on the other side of the
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ledger, the one you try not to talk about that much and you haven't defined well, you have taken away or you ever vastly capped or the cut the growth of the most important elements of the federal government. and the very tiny tax change you made for people in the bottom 20% or the bottom 30%, it does not outweigh that. >> s.e., i want to bring you in because you had something to say before we went to ezra. >> right. a, i think we're all underestimating just how much money can be saved by repealing obama care. that is a huge chunk of money. and to michael's point -- >> not -- >> laughter from ezra. >> obama care saves money. if you repeal the medicaid cut -- >> let me just answer this. >> i've not even been on the show for 20 minutes. let me just finish a point, ezra! >> everybody can be friends when we talk about the tax code. >> let me just finish a point! >> proceed, s.e.. >> i apologize. >> let me just finish. to michael's point, this lie, this mythology about lowering the tax rate on the top income earners and the top hirerers,
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this started -- this is the birth of the tea party. if you ask someone why they became a tea party conservative, it's because british overspent as a republican. started bailing out the banks. if the bush administration had matched their tax cuts with lowered spending, we would have seen the results that a free market should have allowed. we haven't tried that great experiment yet. but if we did, then we'd all be seeing that lowering tax rates on these top income earners and hirers would actually have the growth benefits that we all project. >> i think when you couple it with the spending cuts that ezra outline that disproportionately affect the poor and the working class, in this particular time of economic duress, you could argue that now is not the time to let that experiment play out. but what do i know? >> when will we know, they n? >> ezra klein, thank you for your knowledge and wisdom. we expect to have you on for many more 20-minute blocks.
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coming up from capitol hill to the campaign trail, politicians are pumping up the energy debate and now bill clinton is weighing in. has the former president created a headache for the white house? that's next on "now." ♪ he was a 21st century global nomad ♪ ♪ home was an airport lounge and an ipad ♪ ♪ made sure his credit score did not go bad ♪ ♪ with a free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ ♪ app that he had ♪ downloaded it in the himalayas ♪ ♪ while meditating like a true playa ♪ ♪ now when he's surfing down in chile'a ♪ ♪ he can see when his score is in danger ♪ ♪ if you're a mobile type on the go ♪ ♪ i suggest you take a tip from my bro ♪ ♪ and download the app that lets you know ♪ ♪ at free-credit-score-dot-com now let's go. ♪ vo: offer applies with enrollment in™. i want to fix up old houses. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing.
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republicans aren't the only ones now beating the drum for the keystone xl pipeline. bill clinton said at an energy department conference yesterday, "one of the most amazing things to me about this keystone pipeline deal is that they ever filed that route in the first place, since they could have gone around the nebraska sand hills and avoided most of the dangers. so i think we should embrace it and develop a stakeholder-driven system of high standards for doing the work." now, i cannot imagine this makes the white house very happy. we know that keystone became, i think, in fairness, a political football last year, between the environmental movement and the quote/unquote job-creating
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right. the white house, i think wanted to punt on this, ryan, because it was a difficult decision for president obama to make. by delaying decision, it was seen as a hat tipped to the environmental movement. having former president bill clinton go out and say it was a good idea probably doesn't help the white house. >> this was a huge success for the environmental movement, after cap and trade died, after the obama administration dragged its feet on implementationing these epa regulations. right now the epa has the authority to regulate carbon. they're not really using it. and so a lot of environmentalists start to get very frustrated and it's a massive movement to stop -- this became the target of the global warming community. and the white house, partly because of that pressure, decided to block it. and now you've got bill clinton out there, you know, he's a -- i don't think bill clinton is particularly tied into this white house. all indications are that he and president obama don't have a very close relationship. >> he's not. >> so, you know, you can't --
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this is not exactly a terribly controversial statement. i mean, he has held his tongue for the last three years. he hasn't given obama too much trouble. even when he wrote a book recently on what to do about the economy, which had some subtle jabs at the white house, it wasn't so bad. so i don't know. this is a little overblown. you've got to give clinton some credit for keeping his mouth shut, which must be very difficult under the circumstances. >> but that seems like a statement from somebody who doesn't have a political dog in the fight. this does seem like sort of a common sense solution, like, oh, yeah, why didn't everybody think about that before? and the reason is because each side had their bases to play to, and this became about nothing but politics. and a democratic congressman mentioned to me, do you know this oil will eventually be sold to china anyway? this is not for domestic oil production. they would give no guarantees that this would be sold to america. it could be shipped out. >> i'll tell you who's more pissed at this than obama is like al gore. this is like the issue for gore
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and the environmentalists. and this is clinton coming along and saying it's overblown. >> i take a little issue here with the idea that both sides have their base to play to pop i don't think playing to jobs is a base for the republican party. the environmental wing, that's a base to play to for the left. >> but in fairness, s.e., when we talk about jobs, the estimates range from 50 permanent jobs to 15,000. >> jobs are jobs, alex. >> the case to be made was that it was going to go over a sensitive environmental area, and it was going to be a real risk to the tune of 50 jobs created. >> so the president could have said, we're going to increase testing and then we're going to make this thing happen. >> just a moment of sanity. there's going to be a little more than 50 people that's going to build that pipeline from canada to the gulf. >> permanent jobs. >> permanent or otherwise, it's going to be more than 50 people. this is a whole ruse. the bottom line is this, clinton has his labor base, obama has
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his environmental base. and that's all clinton was talking to, was his labor guys saying, it's time for you brothers to get to work. it's that simple. and the administration has played politics to the detriment of americans getting back to work, at a time, whether we send the oil to china or we send it down to louisiana, the fact of the matter is americans are work and you can worry about where it goes after you put folks back to work. >> i think you are channeling orrin hatch who said yesterday, to that point, president obama has traded in the hard hat and lunch bucket category of the democratic party for the hipster, fedora, and double skim latte. apparently people who wear hipsters, fedora, and double skim lattes are greeny environmentalist. >> there's no way orrin hatch has been to williamsburg. >> that is one of the most sophisticated cultural criticisms to come from a senator's mouth in a really long time. >> it is worth mentioning yesterday, patricia, as you tweeted out, john boehner had a meeting at the white house with president obama. i believe mitch mcconnell was there. >> and it went pretty well.
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>> they came out saying they expect there will be some movement on job creation and energy. >> kumbaya! >> i don't know if i would sing kumbacoupl couple buy ya yet. >> boehner said we would see part of it. it's a good sign that people weren't crying when they came out of that meeting. >> it's a really good sign in america that something might get done in congress for once. but they are in danger of yetting this another wave election. they just want everybody out of there. because they run the house and they want to run the senate and they want to be trusted, but being able to do something, if not nothing. >> it is unclear whether they had lunch out of a bucket or whether they finished off with double skim lattes. >> can i add one point? >> i have to go to break, i'm sorry. >> it's also just wrong. the lunch bucket democrats have not abandoned the democratic party. that's just one of those facts out there that political scientists have knocked down
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again and again. >> and president obama was speaking at the uaw conference like 48 to 72 hours ago. those would be the type of blue-collar democrats that i think orrin hatch was impugning. >> no fedoras. >> coming up, president obama updated his facebook profile to include this mug that includes an image of his birth certificate. it comes just a couple of hours before sheriff joe arpaio is set to release the findings, quote/unquote, of his investigation into the president's birth certificate and his eligibility to be president. stay tuned. my postscript is next. wake up! that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. i love the fact that quicken loans provides va loans. quicken loans understood all the details
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the results of their investigation into whether or not president obama was born in the united states. unsatisfied with the evidence at hand, namely, president obama's actual birth certificate, this cracker jack team of sleuths is led by a sheriff who has been charged with widespread civil rights violations and a, quote, systemic disregard for the u.s. constitution. never mind that, and arpaio's failure to investigate over 400 sex crimes in the state, sheriff joe has made clear his priorities. a witch hunt disguised as an investigation that would make the pink panther cringe. the only thing that threatens to damper the sonic boom of this investigation is gordon warren eperly, an alaska man who has filed a lawsuit challenging the president's eligibility because he is an african-american and not, quote, a natural-born citizen. according to epperly, americans of mixed race are granted citizenship through the 14th amendment, which was not an original part of the
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constitution. for epperly, arpaio, and the cold case posse, the truth needs no real investigation. these are men who cannot accept an african-american in the oval office, out of fear, ignorance, racism, or some combination of the three. if the rest of the country has figured it out, why can't they? thanks again to michael, ryan, patricia, and s.e. cupp. that's all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific. until then, you can follow us on twitter @nowwithalex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. hello, andrea. >> hi, alex. thanks so much. coming up next, the senate gets all fired up over birth control. democrats stop the republicans from permitting employers to ban contraception from their health care plans. joining us, democratic senator, maria cantwell, obama campaign manager, stephanie cutter, chris cillizza, and major garrett. and is the anti-american violence making top officials question our very purpose in afghanistan? my exclusive interview with u.s.
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ambassador to afghanistan, ryan crocker, and nato commander, general john allen. all that, up next. one chance to hunt down the right insurance at the right price. the "name your price" tool, only from progressive. ready, aim, save! grrr! ooh, i forgot my phone! the "name your price" tool. now available on your phone. get a free quote today. i remember the day my doctor told me i have an irregular heartbeat, and that it put me at 5-times greater risk of a stroke. i was worried. i worried about my wife, and my family. bill has the most common type of atrial fibrillation, or afib.
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NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC March 1, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Rick Santorum 14, Obama 10, Ron Paul 8, S.e. 7, Washington 7, Mitt Romney 6, Us 6, Steele 5, Georgia 5, America 4, Santorum 4, Michael Steele 4, Romney 4, Clinton 4, Ezra 3, Michigan 3, Newt Gingrich 3, Afghanistan 3, Bill Clinton 3, Phillips 3
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